Newbury Town Council honours Community Champions at its Civic Awards ceremony, March 2023

The Annual Newbury Town Civic Awards presentation took place at Newbury Town Hall on Wednesday 15 March 2023. The Council Chamber was packed to capacity: the awards presented included the Newbury Town Civic Award, the Newbury Town Young Person’s Civic Award, the Newbury Town Business Civic Award and the Newbury Town Environmental Contribution Award. The awards recognise the town’s unsung heroes who go above and beyond to help make an exceptional contribution to the Newbury community on a voluntary basis.

“We received so many fantastic nominations for this year’s awards,” said The Mayor of Newbury, Councillor Gary Norman. “All nominees showed dedication and commitment to their causes, and the variety of nominations show what a wonderful town we live in where people are willing to give their time and energy helping the community.”

Newbury Town Civic Award

Kerry Bird.

Kerry initiated the Speen Community Café at the Starting Gate Pub, which has become a valuable local hub where residents from Newbury and Speen can gather. “In the last few years we have felt disconnectedness in our community,” Kerry said. “We don’t really know the people that we live near to and Covid made this worse. We decided to approach the local pub and ask if we could use their space as a hub for the community and they agreed.”

For the last 17 months, the café has been providing refreshments, craft activities, speakers, board games, signposting and a safe place to get to know other local people.

Kerry is assisted in the running of the café by a small band of helpers but hers is the driving force and it is her commitment and enthusiasm that keeps this valuable community resource going.

Newbury Town Business Civic Award

Gardner Leader.

Gardner Leader regularly supports events in the community, such as the annual 10k race, the Beer Festival, and they have a Charity of the Year, which this year is the Newbury Soup Kitchen. The judges particularly noted the help they have given the Ukrainian community this year, including certifying documents for free for many refugees and helping them access essential things like Family Allowance when they first arrived. Gardner Leader also donated money towards the Christmas party for Ukrainian children at the Baptist Church Hall in December.

Newbury Town Young Persons Civic Award

Ashley Aspinwall.

Since becoming a young leader at Waterside Centre in April 2022, Ashley has volunteered her time on many occasions to support the activities that take place at the Centre. Ashley has helped with groups of children participating in activities within the primary school holiday programme, worked with the Centre staff to set up activities, supported the delivery of the community larder and volunteered at weekends as part of community events (including a sponsored paddle and community cricket partnership).

Ashley is a friendly face to new young people within sessions, and represents the work of Berkshire Youth with young people when engaging with the wider community.

Newbury Town Environmental Contribution Award

Emma Fearnley.

Emma and her husband, Derek, have both recently completed five years as trustees of Newbury & District Beekeepers Association. They have been vital in the association and have given up hours of their time to support the local community in understanding the importance of honeybees. They are also the coordinators for collecting honeybee swarms in and around Newbury. In 2022 they were responsible for coordinating the collection and rehoming of 40+ colonies. Their impact on the local environment is huge and directly supports the local community. Without their hard work, Newbury would be awash with feral honeybee colonies.

All nominees were invited to the Town Hall for the presentation ceremony and were given a certificate of recognition. The Mayor of Newbury, Councillor Gary Norman congratulated all of the nominees for their outstanding achievements.

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